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New, rare and threatened species discovered in Ghana
Date:12/6/2007

Arlington, Virginia (Dec. 6, 2007) Scientists exploring one of the largest remaining blocks of tropical forest in Western Africa discovered significant populations of new, rare and threatened species underscoring the areas high biological diversity and value.

The findings from a 2006 expedition to Ghanas Atewa Range Forest Reserve (Atewa) led by Conservation Internationals Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) are presented in a report made public today.

The RAP discoveries include a Critically Endangered frog species (Conraua derooi) whose presence in Atewa may represent the last viable population in the world; an unusually high 22 species of large mammals and six species of primates including two species of global conservation concern: Geoffroys pied colobus (Colobus vellerosus) and the olive colobus (Procolobus verus); 17 rare butterfly species; six bird species of global conservation concern including the brown-cheeked hornbill (Bycanistes cylindricus) and the Nimba flycatcher (Melaenornis annamarulae)(first time recorded in Ghana); and nine species new to science: a spider tick whose lineage is as old as the dinosaurs and eight species of katydids. (See a more detailed list of findings at the end of this release.)

Researchers also observed the reserve to be under pressure from illegal timber harvesting and bushmeat hunting. Mining exploration activities may pose a future threat, as the reserve contains gold and bauxite deposits.

Atewa harbors one of the healthiest and most important ecosystems in Western Africa and is the crown jewel of Ghana, said Leeanne Alonso, a Conservation International (CI) senior scientist who heads the RAP program. This is an SOS to create with local communities and other stakeholders viable economic development options that also protect Atewas valuable natural resources.

Between June 6 24, 2006, a team of 22 scientists, post-graduate students and assistants from Ghana and abroad surv
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Contact: Susan Bruce
sbruce@conservation.org
703-341-2471
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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